Archive for the 'Family News' Category

KIDS FIRST! 2015 Holiday Gift Guide – DVDs, Audio Recordings, Theatrical Releases, E-Books

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

As the holidays approach, you are looking for the perfect gift for that niece, nephew, sister-in-law and of course, your own kids and family members. You know what the people closest to you want and need, but those relatives who you don’t see as often are a bit of a challenge. Check out our compilation of DVDs, Feature Films, Audio Recordings and E-Books to help you find the perfect gift for your loved ones. Many have been reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critics and we’ve provided a link to their video reviews which gives you the kids’ point of view. More film reviews are available on our homepage. Happy Holidays from KIDS FIRST!

FOR ACTION FANS

antman.jpgAnt-Man

Armed with the amazing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang joins forces with his new mentor Dr. Hank Pym to protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from ruthless villains! With humanity’s fate in the balance, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a daring heist against insurmountable odds. Filled with humor, awesome special effects and exclusive bonus features, this action-packed adventure takes you to new levels of pulse-pounding excitement! MSRP: $39.99 Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpVPsHMDLTw

214189.Avengers.jpgAvengers: Age of Ultron 

When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure. MSRP: $39.99. Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbFqfu6U0ko

FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

Aladdin.jpgAladdin

For the first time ever, a whole new world of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Aladdin will be revealed in aA whole new way on Blu-ray with never-before-seen bonus. Rediscover how three wishes can change everything in Disney’s timeless adventure for the whole family. MSRP: $29.99. Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRjElA2Vl1Y

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander’s day begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by more calamities. Though he finds little sympathy from his family and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him, his mom, dad, brother, and sister all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Starring Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner and Ed Oxenbould as Alexander. MSRP: $36.99. Video review: http://youtu.be/ogtd8QhXY0A

Cinderella.DVD.BR.jpgCinderella

Walt Disney Animation Studios is releasing the live action version of Cinderella on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere. The movie stars Cate Blanchett as Stepmother (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), Lily James as Cinderella (TV’s “Downton Abbey”), Richard Madden (TV’s “Game of Thrones”) as Prince, Stellan Skarsgård (Marvel’s: “The Avengers,” “Thor”) as Grand Duke, Holliday Grainger (“Jane Eyre”) as Anastasia, Derek Jacobi (“The King’s Speech” ) as King, and Helena Bonham Carter as Fairy Godmother (“Alice in Wonderland”). MSRP: $36.89. Video review:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7Bhyy-J8U8

Home

When Oh, a lovable misfit from another planet, lands on Earth and finds himself on the run from his own people, he forms an unlikely friendship with an adventurous girl named Tip who is on a quest of her own. Through a series of comic adventures with Tip, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human, and together they discover the true meaning of the word HOME. MRSP: $19.04. Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8LHlp4UhlY

INsideout.jpgInside Out

After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Jay, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school. Directed by Pete Docter and Ronaldo del Carmen. Starring Diane Lane, Rashida Jones and Amy Poehler. MSRP: $39.99. Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dg7QOumdKWc

The Legend of Longwood

Crumbling castles, frightening spirits, beautiful horses and a plucky, fearless heroine all come together in this magical quest film, set in the starkly beautiful landscapes of rural Ireland. When 12-year-old Mickey Miller moves from New York to Ireland, she soon discovers a link between herself and the 300-year-old legend of the mysterious Black Knight, who regularly haunts the sleepy Irish village. MSRP: $16.97. Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB___oeu1rs

Little House on the Prairie – The Complete Collection

Fall in love again with the classic TV series that celebrates family, faith and the human spirit, and enjoy the nine-season saga with vividly restored picture and sound. Completely uncut and remastered, this 48-disc set features all nine seasons and is packed with eight hours of bonus material, including the 96-minute original pilot movie, a cast screen test with Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert, the six-part  “The ‘Little House’ Phenomenon” documentary that takes a historical look back at the acclaimed series and three movie specials. MSRP:$149.98

MLP.EquestiaGirls.Friendship.jpgMy Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Friendship Games

Every four years, Canterlot High has ‘The Friendship Games’ where they must rival with different schools with a series of different sporting events and every year, the cup has gone to Crystal Prep. So Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Applejack, and Sunset Shimmer must work together to win the cup. But they find out that the other Twilight Sparkle is on the opposing team. MSRP: $17.98. Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=801twsvfwyI

Once Upon a Sign: The Magic Mirror

In this DVD, young Alice Cogswell wants to enter the talent show but she’s unsure of herself. After an audition that doesn’t go her way, she gets some magic help. But will this magic help get her to the talent show and help her ASL poetry sparkle? MSRP: $15.95. http://www.dawnsign.com. Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df9XUcTXw_U

SOUP_wrap_dimensional_1.jpgOnce Upon a Sign: The New Stone Soup

This new DVD tells the story of three traveling magicians who hope to enjoy a delicious meal after entertaining the folks in a local village. The people are happy to revel in the show but are not willing to share their food with the performers, so the trio comes up with a plan to get the community to contribute food and learn that sharing can be a joyous and happy thing. MSRP: $15.95. http://www.dawnsign.com

Once Upon a Sign: The New Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and his family are struggling to make ends meet. After Jack returns from a chance encounter, it seems his family will continue to struggle. But overnight, a dramatic change happens in their front yard. How will this change impact the family? And how will it impact Los Angeles? MSRP: $15.95. http://www.dawnsign.com

THeSeventhDwarf.jpgThe Seventh Dwarf

Venture into the wondrous world of Fantabularasa Castle and be spellbound by the exciting adventures of your favorite storybook characters in The Seventh Dwarf. With an exceptional voice cast of Peyton List,, Norm Macdonald, Nina Hagen and Joshua Graham, this new CG-animated motion picture is a hilarious mash-up of the best classic fairytales, packed with beloved storybook characters,  non-stop laughs and toe-tapping songs!  MSRP $14.99. Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUlYzcBiCnA

Tomorrowland.DVD.jpgTomorrowland 

Bound by a shared destiny, a teen (Britt Robertson) bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor (George Clooney) embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory. MSRP: $39.99. Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAFm10Ox7U8

The Wild Thornberrys: The Complete Series   

This 15 disc set contains all 91 episodes of the popular Nickelodeon series. The hit series follows the Thornberry family as they travel the world in their Communications Vehicle (or CommVee) looking for rare animals to film. After an encounter with a mysterious shaman, their youngest child Eliza was given the power to speak to animals! Traveling to every corner of the world with her family of daffy documentarians, Eliza uses her fantastic skill to learn about the lifestyles and habitats of the world’s most exotic creatures. MSRP $29.99.

The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki (Amazon Exclusive)

Includes a 1972 TV Pilot directed by Miyazaki, three episodes from the hit anime series “Little Samurai” and a commemorative booklet. For the first time, all 11 of Miyazaki’s feature-length masterpieces are packaged in collection, complete with bonus features. Included films are: Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979); Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984); Castle in the Sky (1986); My Neighbor Totoro (1988); Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989); Porco Rosso (1992); Princess Mononoke (1997); Spirited Away (2001) ; Howl’s Moving Castle (2004); Ponyo (2008/2009); The Wind Rises (2013) MSRP: $224.99

Gumby.jpgGumby: The Gumby Show, The Complete 50s Series

For the first time ever, the complete Gumby Show has been re-mastered from its original camera rolls and soundtracks with the brilliant colors and full-length formats as first aired in the 1950s. These imaginative, surrealistic, stop motion animated masterpieces will mesmerize children and adults of all ages. MSRP: $24.99. http://www.ncircleentertainment.com Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-sR2ziIR_A

Shaun the Sheep

From Aardman, the producers of Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit comes Shaun the Sheep Movie, a farm-tastic adventure for the whole family. MEET SHAUN! He’s a little sheep with big dreams, and lately, life on Mossy Bottom Farm has become a bit dull. When Shaun takes the day off for some fun in the Big City, he gets a lot more action than he bargained for. Now Shaun and his flock must use their wits to hatch a baaaa-rilliant plan to get back home in an adventure the whole family will love. MSRP: $34.99 (BR)/$29.95 (DVD) Video. Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8x_aUsOies

FOR YOUNGER KIDS

ABCMeetMonsters.2D.jpgABC Monsters: Starring ABCD

The ABC Monsters are on the loose and only Alice, Brian and Cherry Berry can catch them. 26 cuddly ABC Monsters live within the walls of Capital Castle. Each monster represents a letter of the alphabet, but should any of the monsters go missing for longer than a day, all the letters will be wiped clean from every book in Capital Town, so it’s very important to make sure that all the ABC Monsters are safely back in Alphabet Gardens before the sun goes down. MSRP: $9.99. http://www.ncircleentertainment.com  Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lH4ohgUGV4

Chuggington: The Big Freeze

The chuggers perform one heroic rescue after another in this cool new seasonal collection of “Chuggington” adventures! When icy temperatures cause the town to run out of fuel and all diesel engines are grounded, it’s wheels-to-the-rails as Chief Jackman and his team of brave Chug Patrollers work together to find a way to the frozen docks to retrieve fuel and get the town of Chuggington moving once again. MSRP: $14.98.

Doozers: Giant Gingerbread House

The Pod Squad want to build a Doozer-sized Gingerbread House. However, in order to achieve such a large size Gingerbread House it’s going to take some clever construction to create. Can the Pod Squad do it? Then, Daisy Wheel wants to ice skate with the others, but she doesn’t know how. Together, the Pod Squad build her a custom Doo-Step Skating Dress that lets her glide across the ice in no time. Weee! Enjoy these adventures and six more focusing on science, technology, engineering and math! MSRP: $9.99. http://www.ncircleentertainment.com

Maya.jpgMaya The Bee Movie

Based on the well-known children’s novel and popular animated series, this animated feature brings to life an enchanting story of a little bee named Maya and her exciting adventure of self-discovery and fantastical fun. This is an instant classic that delivers wholesome family entertainment— emphasizing the importance of friendship, freedom and courage. Originally a German children’s novel by Waldemar Bonsels, The Adventures of Maya the Bee was published over a hundred years ago in 1912. MSRP $15.80. Video review: https://youtu.be/F5D58b_NPEk

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls (3 Movie Gift Set)

Join Twilight Sparkle and her Canterlot High friends in three animated adventures! With a special lenticular cover featuring a transforming Twilight Sparkle, the box set houses all three films released from the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls canon, Equestria Girls, Rainbow Rocks and Friendship Games. Bonus features include audio commentaries, animated shorts and deleted scenes. MSRP $29.93. Video review:http://youtu.be/iUaO_LE2-NM

Strawberry Shortcake Berry Tales
Join Plum in “Snowberry and the Seven Berrykins” as she learns to believe in herself when putting on a small and simple play.  In “Berryella and Prince Berry Charming,” Huck agrees to be in a production, but then quickly realizes that he’d be happier behind the scenes.  Strawberry, Lemon and Raspberry star as three princesses on a quest to rule a kingdom in “The Littlest Berrykin,” and realize that they can never succeed without kindness and generosity. MSRP: $14.98.

Tinkerbell.Never.jpgTinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast

An ancient myth of a massive creature sparks the curiosity of Tinker Bell and her good friend Fawn, an animal fairy who’s not afraid to break the rules to help an animal in need. But this creature is not welcome in Pixie Hollow — and the scout fairies are determined to capture the mysterious beast, who they fear will destroy their home. Fawn must convince her fairy friends to risk everything to rescue the NeverBeast. This thrilling action-adventure roars to life with never-before-seen bonus extras on Blu-ray and DVD. MSRP: $36.99. Video review: http://youtu.be/IRR0NJzRwOg

HOLIDAY THEMED DVDS

SM.CHRISTMAS.D.JPGA Christmas Detour

Two NYC bound travelers find themselves inextricably linked when a freak snowstorm waylays their Christmas plans to an overcrowded airport hotel in Buffalo. Eternal optimist and hopeless romantic, Paige Summers, desperately needs to find a way to the city so that she can meet her fiancé’s parents before her storybook wedding — and it’s up to a guy she can’t stand, fellow passenger and total stranger Dylan Mackenzie, a guy permanently soured on romance after his girlfriend broke his heart to rise to the occasion and become Paige’s off-white Knight in shining armor. Exclusive to Walmart and Sam’s Club. MSRP: $14.93.

A Crown for Christmas

Allie has taken care of her brothers and sisters ever since their parents died when they were just kids, and now, she and her sister Lisa work as maids in a first-class Manhattan hotel. By a twist of fate, Allie meets Ryland, a King in disguise staying at the hotel, and on the very same day loses her job due to unruly hotel guests. In an effort to apologize for Allie losing her job, one of Ryland’s closest servants offers her the role of Governess (a glorified Nanny) for Ryland’s 10-year-old daughter Teddy. Walmart/Sam’s Club Exclusive. MSRP: $14.93

Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas

The story of Buddy the elf, and his quest to reunite with the human father he never knew existed. While Buddy’s sincerity and idealism are commonplace at the North Pole, these attributes are rejected in cynical New York City. But through song, dance, and relentless good cheer, Buddy rekindles the spirit of Christmas for the entire city. Voice talent of Jim Parsons, Mark Hamill, Kate Micucci and Ed Asner. MSRP: $14.98 (DVD)/$19.98 (BR)

HomeAloneCollection.jpgHome Alone 25th Anniversary Edition

This gift set features all five films packaged together for the first time in a collectible paint can. Includes all 5 films together for first time! Includes: Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Home Alone 3, Home Alone: Taking Back the House, Home Alone: The Holiday Heist. MSRP: $39.99.

Ice Sculpture Christmas

As a little girl, Callie Shaw always knew she wanted to be an amazing chef.  Now, after spending years trying to get her foot in the door, she’s losing faith that she has what it takes to succeed.  Is it time to give up?  Working as the entry-level new hire in her hometown’s country club kitchen, Callie finally gets the opportunity to make a name for herself through a culinary Christmas ice-sculpture contest!  Walmart/Sam’s Club Exclusive. MSRP: $14.93.

The Nutcracker Sweet

Features the voices of an all-star cast including Alicia Silverstone, Ed Asner and Drake Bell. It  is Christmas Eve and the Silberhaus children are excited for the festivities to begin. Marie and Fritz are playing in the children’s room when their godfather Drosselmayer arrives and presents them with an early Christmas gift, a Nutcracker. Marie witnesses a great battle between a vast army of toy soldiers led by the Nutcracker against a terrible platoon of mice commanded by the Mouse King.  MSRP: $14.93.

Tis_The_Season_For_Love_DVD_f.jpgPee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special

As you’ve never seen it before, beautifully restored, re-mastered and in HD. Join the whole Playhouse gang for one of the wackiest specials ever! With laughs for the whole family, this unique, triple Emmy®-nominated special offers all the imagination and charm of Saturday morning’s most outrageous TV series, which became a cultural milestone when it aired from 1986-1991. MSRP $6.95 (DVD) / $19.97 (BR)

‘Tis The Season For Love

Hanna Baker, left her small town of Kern to seek the stardom that everyone knew was her destiny.  Now, ten years later, with none of her dreams coming to fruition and feeling like a failure, Hanna heads back to Kern for a real hometown, family Christmas, to cheer her up. Once back, Hanna sees that life in Kern has moved on quite nicely without her and she soon finds herself longing for her past.  MSRP: $14.93.

musicnotes.jpgAUDIO

AndyZ.ClassicSongs.jpgAndy Z: Classic Songs and Traditional Tunes

Beloved American folk songs blended with classic children’s songs that the younger set just can’t get enough of. Andy brings together two genres that complement one another beautifully and captures the heart and intention of the songs as they were originally written.  For this 15-song album, he used true-to-genre instrumentation, thoughtful arrangements and restored lyrics. MSRP: $14.98. http://www.andyz.com

Big Block Singsong Volume 1

Who knew that being so square could be so cool! Big Block Singsong is a terrific musical, visual DVD romp. Creators Warren Brown and Adam Goddard have hit the creative mother load here – what seems so simple is so deceiving in its well-designed construction – the ‘simple’ individual block characters sing a two-minute nicely produced song that covers subjects from noses and hair to emotions of sadness and happiness, so you see the sky’s the limit, or not. http://www.bigblocksingsong.com

Calling All the Elephants

CallingAllTheElephantsCover5x5_72dpi.jpgRandy & Dave, two hit songwriters from different genres, started writing some silly songs for kids. “Silly” soon morphed into over-the-top, laugh-out-loud funny. Randy’s country roots and Dave’s children’s pop roots come together to create a wacky, seesaw feel, moving from a country stroll where the wit of the lyrics sneaks up on you to a rock ‘n’ roll sprint where an outrageous lyric slams into you. MSRP: $14.98http://songwizard.com

Dancin in the Kitchen: Songs for ALL Families by Cathy and Marcy

This CD knocked my socks off so I immediately decided to dance barefoot in the kitchen – great decision. This album is a breath of fresh air that climbs the mountain of rarefied musical integrity and promotes acceptance and tolerance on so many levels. You will not be disappointed or dismayed, this album is special and grabs you from the first downbeat to the last fade-away. MSRP: $15; http://www.cathymarcy.com

DOYOUBELIEVE_1.JPGDo You Believe in Magic

Original fantasy musical/rock opera for tweens, teens, combining colorful characters, compelling story, infectious songs, danceable duets, narration, full musical score. Percy Jackson meets Into The Woods. Enchanted books, witches break into song! MSRP: $15. http://aoedemuse.com/muse/

Happy Kids Songs

These full-production songs are both highly entertaining and age appropriate–adult quality music with words and themes that tap into the most common issues confronting 4- to 8-year-olds. The variety of adult and child soloists, children’s chorus and wide range of instruments and musical styles easily hold children’s attention and parents’ too. These songs were written and produced by award-winning child psychologist, Dr. Mac, who has also been the music director and songwriter for the PBS hit, Jay Jay the Jet Plane. MSRP: $19.80; http://www.happykidssongs.comHappyKidsSongs_1.jpg

Hot Air by Recess Monkey

‘Hot Air’ rises to the occasion and delivers a potent punch of fun, danceable and delightfully listenable tunes that will lift your spirits and take you on flights of fancy that are frown resistant. Recess Monkey is a tried and true band of experienced and educated musicians who have inhaled the wonderful songwriting and production values of top groups from the late 60’s and 70’s and have exhaled a new, original and pleasing paradigm of songs that are kid-friendly but more importantly, kid-conscious. MSRP: $13. http://www.recessmonkey.com

Let__sboogie.jpg
Let’s Boogie

The debut album from Toronto children’s’ rock band, Rock’n’Rainbow, this CD is a family dance party of high energy tunes with catchy hooks & funk-rock rhythms, exploring favorite forms of exercise: biking, heading out on scooters & boogying-on-down. Rainbow Songs Inc. MSRP: $14.97. http://www.rainbowsongs.com

Nursery Rhyme Parade!

This new album presents 35 familiar nursery rhymes and songs. These fresh and sparely produced tracks provide the perfect opportunity for parents to remember their own childhoods, and to connect with their kids through melody, rhythm and rhyme.  Acclaimed children’s book and magazine illustrator Ekaterina Truhan created the sprightly animal parade art for the album and noted singer Renee Stahl guests. Exclusive to Amazon, MSRP: $9.99 CD; $8.99 Digital

The Pop Ups – Bird and Rhino 

Stomp those fires out with The Pop Ups. This is an animated music video, featuring a song from their brand new album, Great Pretenders Club, exclusively at Amazon. Animator: Garrett Davis, Artists: Jacob Rabinowitz and Jacob Stein. MSRP: $7.99 http://amzn.to/1Vn3Pi2; http://www.thepopups.com

VIDEOGAMES

Lego_Dimensions.jpg
LEGO Dimensions
The all-new collection merges physical LEGO brick building and interactive console gameplay. Includes the videogame, bricks to build the LEGO Gateway, three LEGO Minifigures, Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle, plus the LEGO Batmobile, and the LEGO Toy Pad, which allows players to transport special LEGO minifigures and models into the game, as well as direct in-game action all with the movement of the physical toys.  MSRP: $99.99

NEEDFORSPEED.JPGNeed for Speed

Brings together 20 years of history and inspiration from some of the most beloved games in the venerable franchise, to create the definitive racing game experience. Introduces compelling and innovative gameplay through Five Ways to Play – Speed, Style, Build, Crew, and Outlaw. Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC. ESRB: T. MSRP: $69.99

NHL 16

Built with more fan feedback and insights than ever before, NHL 16 delivers your most requested features and modes along with new experiences that make NHL bigger and better. ESRB: E, MSRP: $59.99

STARWARSBATTLE.JPG
Star Wars Battlefront

Feeling the ominous thud of an AT-AT stomping down on the frozen tundra of Hoth. Rebel forces firing blasters as Imperial speeder bikes zip through the lush forests of Endor. Intense dogfights between squadrons of X-wings and TIE fighters filling the skies. Immerse yourself in the epic Star Wars battles you’ve always dreamed of and create new heroic moments of your own in Star Wars Battlefront. ESRB: T, MSRP: $69.99

Project CARS

Represents the next-generation of racing simulation as the ultimate combination of fan desire and developer expertise. With a Franchise Mode that allows you to carve out a personalized career starting in the Karting world and then progressing on to whichever motorsport specialization you prefer. ESRB: E, MSRP: $39.99

THEATRICAL RELEASES

Alvin.jpgAlvin And The Chipmunks: The Road Chip, PG, Comedy. In theaters: December 18, 2015
Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in Miami…and dump them.  They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal, saving themselves not only from losing Dave but possibly from gaining a terrible stepbrother. Starring Bella Thorne, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting and Anna Faris.

Bridge of Spies, PG-13, Biography, Drama, History. In Theaters Now
An American lawyer is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda and Amy Ryan.

Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27BmVO6QcCY

Brooklyn, PG-13, Drama, Romance. In theaters: November 6, 2015
In 1950s Ireland and New York, young Eilis Lacey has to choose between two men and two countries. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Brid Brennan, Maeve McGrath and Emma Lowe.

Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qk4kN22rPFc

Everest.jpgEverest, Biography. In Theaters Now
A climbing expedition on Mt. Everest is devastated by a severe snow storm. Starring Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWKSys0TSM0

Goosebumps, PG, Comedy, Adventure. In Theaters Now teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R. L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware.

Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDRNZpFrKPE

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Jem and the Holograms, PG, Adventure. In Theaters Now
As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden. Starring Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott and Aurora Perrineau

Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT_Aep6FOw8

Joy, NR, Comedy-drama. In theaters: December 25, 2015
Joy is the story of a family across four generations and the woman who rises to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper.

spectre.jpgSpectre, Action, PG-13, Adventure. In theaters November 6, 2015
A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE. Starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux.

Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTlzMvxzYfE

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Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, PG, Action, Adventure. In theaters December 28, 2015
A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas and set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983). Directed by J.J. Abrams, Starring Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Adam Driver.

The 33, PG-13, Drama. In theaters November 6, 2015
Based on the real-life event, when a gold and copper mine collapses, it traps 33 miners underground for 69 days. Starring Naomi Scott, Cote de Pablo, Kate del Castillo, James Brolin.
Video review:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXHDEXC7vZA

The Good Dinosaur, PG, Adventure, Comedy. In theaters: November 27, 2015
An epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. Starring Raymond Ochoa, Jeffrey Wright, Steve Zahn and A.J. Buckley.

Interview with Michael O’Brien: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4giz2mEq4Gk

HungerGames.MJ.2_1.jpgThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, PG-13, Adventure, Sci-Fi. November 20, 2015
After being symbolized as the “Mockingjay”, Katniss Everdeen and District 13 engage in an all-out revolution against the autocratic Capitol. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth.

Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P2s75F9Aa0

The Intern. PG-13,  Comedy. In Theaters now
70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin. Starring Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo and Anders Holm.

Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYTLqwheH8Q

The Martian, Adventure, PG-13, Drama. In Theaters now

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

Video review: href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lJ8yNpc2A4

ThePeanuts.jpgThe Peanuts Movie, G, 3D Animation, In theaters: November 6, 2015
Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their arch-nemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home. Starring Trombone Shorty, Rebecca Bloom amd Anastasia Bredikhina.

Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gP2hfqhLJgo

E-BOOKS

blanket.jpg
A Blanket Quite Rare

There once was a boy with a blanket quite rare that his mother had told him was made with great care.  It came on his birthday with colors so bright It made him feel happy all day and all night. Neptune Press. MSRP: $12

The Loneliest Treehttp://www.kidsfirst.org/detail/214181.html

Not very far from the big city is a very special farm. It’s special because it grows special trees…Christmas trees! The trees are able to stretch their graceful branches covered with needles and pine cones toward the sun as they grow taller and taller–all but one. Neptune Press. MSRP: $9.95

ShipShape.jpgShip Shape (Upton Charles – Dog Detective) http://www.kidsfirst.org/detail/214154.html

When the Chief of Police calls the Charles family to report that a brand new boat and trailer are missing  from the boat show, Upton is immediately recruited to apply his detective skills to the disappearance. Our super sleuth is a Bichon Frise (that’s “BEE-shon free-ZEY”), a little white dog, who  wastes no time in sniffing out clues that lead to a surprising discovery.  During the course of the investigation, Upton is joined by a new assistant. Neptune Press. MSRP: $7.99

Crayola DJ – Neat and Fun to Play With, Especially if You’re Into Mixing

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

CrayolaDJ_214231.jpgThis app allows you to create the perfect music and play with tracks in different genres, including dance, pop, and hip hop. Layer your loops and add fun sound effects, then take your beats to the dance party. Your color-coded music creates an exciting color and light show. Perform for an audience and earn points for mixing and scratching your music! You can then save your music and share with friends and family! Carissa P., KIDS FIRST! juror, age 16 comments, “Crayola DJ is another one of those easy, fun games that lets children create their own music in the palm of their smart phone device.” Mia A, age 11 adds, “The Crayola DJ app is very fun, especially if you love music and creating music.” Kamren W. wraps it up, “Crayola DJ is fun for all ages. I recommend downloading this app especially for kids who have an interest in mixing.” See their full reviews below.

Kamren2.jpgThe Crayola DJ
Reviewed by Kamren W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 8

The app Crayola DJ is neat and fun to play with. This is a kid’s app where you can learn basic beats. There are so many combinations of music beats that you can make. The music areas covered are pop, hip-hop, dance, fusion and holiday. I thought the holiday beats would be weird to use, but it sounds real interesting. There are some loop buttons that you can add to the sound. Crayola DJ is about complete creativity. The Crayola DJ app does not disappoint. I downloaded this app under Google Play. The screen for this looks very simple. There is a voice tutorial which walks you through the app. I like that is has two turntables that you can actually spin backwards or frontwards. There is also a tempo slide and turntable slide. Crayola DJ has a one and two-player game. This game is based on creating and mixing up beats to earn the most points. It is interesting to play, but I didn’t like that the screen was completely different from the main one. It has a voice tutorial also. I read online that you can add your own music. I have not seen anywhere on this app that shows where to do this. That would really bring this app straight to the top. Crayola DJ is fun for all ages. I recommend downloading this app especially for kids who have an interest in mixing. I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 8 to 18.

Carissa_1.jpgCrayola DJ
Reviewed by Carissa P. KIDS FIRST! juror, age 16

Young kids gain enjoyment from the simplest of games, whether it be tag or crab racing. Crayola DJ is another one of those easy, fun games that lets children create their own music in the palm of their smart phone device. Perhaps the most enjoyable part is listening to the music change genres so quickly from funk to pop to hip hop just from pressing the devices on the game.

Crayola DJ opens up and the player is immediately faced with two turntables. The player is helped by a woman’s voice giving basic instructions on how to create music. There are buttons that provide different rhythms, basses, melodies and sound effects to create the player’s desired tune. These beats all come from different genres such as dance and holiday. This sort of “practice mode” provides a chance to creatively experiment with balance of the music, tempo and more. There is a two player mode where two kids can compete with one another and show off their mixing skills and also a performance mode where the player gets to feel like he or she is performing for a show.

Available on both Android and iOS, Crayola DJ is a very inventive game that many will enjoy. One aspect of the game that I really enjoyed was the interactive aspect. Lots of games out there that kids play are very singularly noted and simply require button pressing or aiming at a target. This game is much more intricate than that and provides children an opportunity to actually learn while playing on a device.

One criticism I have of the game is the lack of clarity. Yes, it is good to have kids learn for themselves and creatively experiment with a game. However, I had trouble understanding how exactly to make music and how to get from the “practice” area to the “performance” area. The woman’s voice who helps guide you through the game is pleasant enough, but she lacks information on how to make the game really easy to comprehend in the beginning.

All in all, I would give the game a 3 out of 5 stars due to the confusion and lack of clarity in instructions. Still, it is a very enjoyable game and I recommend it for kids ages 4 to 8. This is a creative new game for kids to learn more about music and, most of all, enjoy themselves.Mia3.jpg

Crayola DJ
Reviewed by Mia A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Crayola DJ app is very fun, especially if you love music and creating music.  This app helps you to make a song then spin your track at a party like a real DJ.  The app is easy to learn, do and is fun to create with your friends. There is not a super wide selection of music beats to make your song but you can make a lot of tunes. I enjoyed the bright visuals, easy to follow instructions, the creativity of the app and the idea of being able to be a DJ on your tablet. I recommend this app for 6- to 12-year-olds because it’s fun to create songs and it is a blast to listen to what you create. I’d rate this app 4 out of 5 stars.  Crayola DJ is for kids to have fun and be creative.

Last Chance to Register for Santa Fe and Seattle Film Critics Boot Camps

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

KF.BootCamp.jpgKids First Film Critics Summer Boot Camps in Santa Fe and Seattle are almost full. Take a minute now to register your child in these two cities or, one of the three other cities we’ll be in this summer: New York City, Martha’s Vineyard and Washington DC. Taught by leading producers, directors and filmmakers, children ages 10 to15 will learn skills to become red carpet film critics and reporters through this unique star-making program.

Full and partial scholarships are available for local participants for all of the camps so, be sure to check those out.

In this camp, kids will learn a variety of behind-the-scenes skills of the film industry as they watch and critique the latest films, write and videotape reviews, develop on-camera interview techniques and have the opportunity to meet celebrities, directors and producers of some of their favorite films. Following the camp, campers will have the opportunity to join the Kids First film critic team of reporters.

Fourteen-year-old Kids First Film Critic Keefer C. Blakeslee comments, “My experience with Kids First has been a blast! I have walked the red carpet at movie premieres and interviewed stars such as my idol, Mel Brooks. KIDS FIRST! has really built my self-esteem for interviewing people, talking on camera and asking good questions about film.”

The Kids First Film Critic’s reviews reach more than seven million viewers monthly through partnerships with broadcast, print and online publications including Huffington Post, Kidzworld.com, GRAND Magazine, Kidsville News, Working Mother Magazine and many more.

Leading the star teaching team this year is founder and president of Kids First! and Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, Ranny Levy. Other guest teachers include documentary filmmaker, Nancy Kenney; former manager of outreach for Thirteen/WNET, Terry Solowey; and KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven Devanney.

The week long camps take place at the following locations:

June 15 – 19
Santa Fe Community College
Santa Fe, NM

June 22 – 26
B47 Studios
Seattle, WA 98119

July 27-31
Martha’s Vineyard Film Center
Vineyard Haven, MA

August 3 – 7
HITN
Brooklyn, NY

August 10-14
Discovery Communications
Silver Spring, MD

For more information and to register, go to http://www.kidsfirst.org or call 505.989.8076.

Enroll Now for KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Boot Camps in Denver, DC, New York City/Brooklyn, Martha’s Vineyard, Santa Fe and Seattle

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Amazon_film_critic_banner.jpgIf you have a 10 to 15-year-old in your life who loves films and dreams of being on the red carpet, KIDS FIRST! has the perfect opportunity. Your tween can participate in the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp during Spring Break spring at Reel Kids in Denver and this summer in New York City/Brooklyn at HITN, Martha’s Vineyard at Martha’s Vineyard Film Center, Santa Fe, NM at Santa Fe Community College, Seattle, WA at B-47 Studios and Silver Spring, MD at Discovery Communications for an experience they will never forget.

Give your child the opportunity to build self confidence and learn more about behind-the-scenes aspects of the film industry as they critique the latest films, learn to write reviews, practice interview techniques, improve on-camera skills, visit with industry professionals and are coached by seasoned professionals. All campers will have the opportunity to join the KIDS FIRST! Film Critic team of reporters.

For more information, go to http://www.kidsfirst.org/become-a-juror/2015.BootCamp.html

There’s still time to support KIDS FIRST!

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

2015_is_coming_at_the_beach.jpgAs 2014 winds down, we wish to thank all of our generous supporters for their kindness. And, for those of you who haven’t yet made a donation, might we remind you that this is the perfect time to make a contribution to KIDS FIRST! Your donation is tax deductible so, in essence it doesn’t really cost you anything.

Did you know that 15% of KIDS FIRST!’s revenue comes from donations from individuals such as you? We need your support now more than ever!

With the end of 2014 quickly approaching, you can still make a donation by December 31st for 2014 tax credits.

Click here to make an online donation. For more information regarding KIDS FIRST! and its Film Critics program go to. 

What makes KIDS FIRST! so special? We are the only nonprofit media evaluator that give youth themselves “a voice!” Check out their video reviews to hear the kids current film reviews.

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